I have wanted to make this post, to tell my story with this workshop and the people conducting it. But I can’t. The reason why, is because I gained so much from the workshop that I don’t think I would be able to communicate it in a simple blog post.
Nonetheless, I will give it a try, and communicate some elements.
At which road did I get lost, to find myself at a workshop named Fighting Monkey? Well.. You never really walk alone, so I got pushed down this road, willingly though, but still pushed, by many parametres, but the last push over the edge was provided by my girlfriend, Pernille. She told me; “Kasper, you would like this guy Jozef, do you want to come with me to his workshop”(she had met him before at a movement camp), and because this workshop is available for everyone (especially financial), I signed up..
It wasen’t until later that the anxiety hit me. I realized, reading about the workshop after signing up, that it was influenced a lot by dance and partnerwork, also from martial arts, but dance.. and partnerwork.. and choreography.. I just thought: “What the f*¨ck have I signed up to!” I am a fighter.. I can do hard training, endurance, kicks and punches. I can struggle and survive, but I can’t dance and I can defiantly not do any choreography.. Already at this time, the monkey was trying to take over!
Which is leading me to the name of the workshop. The name has something to do with ones general ability to being able to commit to the exercises, which really isn’t exercises (or dance), but more situations which is facilitated by the teachers (mostly Jozef Fruzek and Linda Kapatanea, but also Antonis Strouzas have been assisting in the teachings). The Monkey is a metaphor for ‘the monkey mind’, the mind that always fuck around with you; “you can’t do that”, “I have my private space”, “im bored”, but also, “I can do this”, “I’m good” “I’m this kind of person” and so on.. The monkey mind does not give you peace and commitment. In all kind of different ways, depending on the nature of your own personal monkey, it will try to confuse you and make it impossible for you to commit to the situation, to the practice or to play the game you are trying.
I did not mention Meditation in relation to the monkey mind; another subject that we discussed at the workshop. The words meditation and mindfullness have a tendency to be a ‘brand’ that can add both a positive, negative but definitely an alienated understanding of the activity.
You see.. The idea in this workshop is, that you are learning by yourself. By experiencing, with the group, with the partner and with yourself, you develop different kind of insights, which might be in coherence with the insights of the group, but which is also personal. But the specific insights I’m talking about here is; that you are learning. Literally: Because YOU are executing the exercises (or situations) which is OFFERED to you on behalf of the teachers. And this follows that no one should take credit on your behalf, claiming that what you learn is really their effort alone, and that your experience is their work.
To give space is another lesson: Someone asked Jozef and Linda what they thought about if the student, a student of them selves or in general, is leaving their master to seek out new knowledge? I dont know the exact words complied to the question but the reply was something like; what teacher would be angry? He would be less of a teacher if he would not accept this.. This is the teachers ego, his problem.. We all have different paths, and you need to respect the student. Another quotation by Linda and Jozef related to this subject, that has stuck with me,: “It is about how honest you can work with the people”. This has stuck to me, because at the point when I started to work with them, I did not feel that the circumstances I worked in was honest. At that time I accepted this, as a way to act of necessarity.. Telling myself that this is just the way it is. But it isn’t.. This is now an ideal for me: “To work honest with the people I am around”.
Play! and Try! When a child is playing, it is committing fully to the game. It is acting on the activity as if the game was real.. I have been to serious and defensive in my fighting background. To focused on being good or maintaining instead of just letting go and improving my mistakes! This is because of my ego amongst other things… “Play” is often used by so called grown ups, to neglect the value of an activity or to take distance to it, but if you really play, and really commit to the game, you are learning and developing with great effect. This is a great toll that is used throughout the workshop, and that I have taken with me.
Preassure! You need to add pressure to your partner and you need to be pressured.. Creativity and adaptability is a big purpose of the workshop: To facilitate the possibility for creativity and to make the people aware of their adaptability. This is possible if you are receiving some pressure. Not to much.. So it becomes a balance with pressure and space.
The excersices, games or situations is the main thing of the workshop. Its where the magic happens. And it is a movement workshop, even though I almost decieve it here as an existencial program. All these different forms of games, which really dosen’t make sense to tell about here because they should be experienced.. They seem simple, but is still so intelligent at the same time. I’m sure if we were living in a context of more “need” than our comfortable society. We would invent these games for playing and interacting as kids… But still.. In our dull modern context, these games a really intelligent re-inventions.
At the end of this, already, relatively long blogpost, I would like to sum it up.. I think that people reading this, might still be confused about what the workshop is or how it is conducted and what functionality or usefull techniques you receive from it.. And.. I can’t really answer this fully.. But.. It is not dance, as I was afraid it was.. To me it is mostly fighting.. But then again it isn’t real fighting either, or meditation.. It is more movement orientated, from a general perspective; you conduct movement using your abilities and is challenged on your weaknesses.. So, it is a movement practice. It is demanding for sure, but still open for everyone..
And what might be the most important lesson I took with me; is to ask yourself the question: “Which or whos dream are you living?” As we meet in the workshop for a limited amount of time, but yet a very intense time, working for many hours, moving and being moved, this question is asked and discussed in the group.. What are we doing, both here now, figthing the monkey, and in our daily lives.. And in this life; which dream are you living.. Your own dream, or some other masters dream, or some other societies dream maybe? These questions has been very central for me, as I am the kind of person, who really wants to live my own!
My recommendations to fight the monkey!